Saturday, March 29, 2014

Reporting live from the sherd yard

As our dear ceramic expert has now left the team after 4 weeks work, we thought it would be appropriate for Sarah to summarize the last couple of weeks and her first season’s work here at Silsila. All images in this blog post were captured by Sarah herself: 

'Reporting live from the sherd yard' 
by Sarah K. Doherty

Hello from the sherd yard at Gebel Silsila, where I thought I would give you an update on our proceedings in understanding the complex, at times surprising but always awe-inducing Madam Silsila. Since the last blog we have been very busy working through all the material from the various sites identified by John and Maria to be of interest (which seems like almost everywhere!). As Silsila is a relatively untouched site, we are fortunate that there is a lot of potential material around to study. The difficulty lies with where to select first for analysis! Under main consideration, as mentioned in other posts, is the Main Quarry (Q34) on the East Bank of Silsila where I have concentrated my efforts in pottery processing. This is the area that Maria and Adrienn have almost finalised the inscription and quarry mark survey (undertaken in previous seasons), John and Maria in analysis of quarrying techniques, John in recording of the topographical features, and I hope to complete the story with what pottery was being used, where and of what date.

John and Sarah washing and analysing sherds
When not busy (ha!) with the Main Quarry, I have also been trying to compare it with other sites located on the East and West Bank and surrounding wadis (which we have had fun naming e.g. Wadi Tean or Mud Valley). On the West Bank at Pottery Hill the surface contained more pottery than I could handle in this season alone (including several complete bowls), so I've used it for the preliminary data as the basis for a pottery typology on the site. Southern Hill (above the Main Quarry on the East Bank) alone yielded 4,000 sherds... The pottery in and around the 18th dynasty quarries that Maria and John have documented during previous seasons have to wait until next season, and with them also Wadi Tean, GeSE RAS 18-19, and not to mention the other areas yet to explore sherd-wise.

Great view from 'Southern Hill'
Measuring the (men's) width of a Roman road

There is so much potential at this site, I can't wait for the next season to begin. Post (my) season, for the coming months, I will spend my time with the delights of database entry, digitising drawings and 3D imaging of some of the completed vessels. 

Sarah K. Doherty sherd_nerd

[The Silsila Survey Team will surely miss our already greatly beloved ceramic analyst, and we all look forwards to the upcoming autumn season when she will return to site!]

Yup, there was still some "spare" time to explore the site's prehistoric rock art
A quick visit to Aswan for the UNESCO organized conference 'Southern Gate of Egypt' where the Silsila Survey Team was represented by Maria
We were honored by a day's visit by Dutch scholars and friends


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